Friday, June 6, 2008

Community For Some?

Sounds like some folks are wondering what happened to the "community" college. The Flier reports that Howard Community College officials have told some private dance studios and the like they will no longer be welcome at the school's Smith Theatre.

In November, when the theater reopens after a 10-month renovation, the college will begin turning away the majority of outside organizations that seek to rent the facility.

College officials say the new policy is necessary to provide enough performance opportunities for in-house programs and partners of the college.

They also cite restrictions tied to county bonds used to fund the renovation that prevent the college from making a profit from renting the facility. The restrictions led officials to become more "choosy" about booking outside events in the theater, said Valerie Lash, chairwoman of the college's arts and humanities division.

In its lead editorial, the Flier opines that the demand for performance space points to the need for the kinds of arts centers proposed by General Growth Properties for downtown Columbia.

One point in the story and editorial is not quite clear to us: Do publicly financed schools have to charge fees that produce profits?

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